The American Dream: big house in the burbs, white picket fence, middle class job, two+ cars. Did I miss anything? Ya, how about the mortgage, 50+ hour work weeks, credit card debt, and a garage for all the extra stuff–other than the cars. Living in the US and reaching for the American Dream certainly comes with welcoming benefits, but not without its drawbacks. Those drawbacks are what have motivated a change in mindset both in our future earning plans and the plans for how we want to raise our kids. Lets back up a bit and see how we arrived here
The desire we have for travel is deeply rooted, though from very different paths of upbringing. The itch to travel has been flaring since we first met; she with her life-long dreams of African safaris and me wanting to attend grad school abroad. However, the universal excuses of fear and ‘reality’ have held us back from a robust life of travel. Recently we have discovered more and more people who travel long term while still young and it has motivated us to the point where there is no doubt that we
can will also. There are still logistics in the way, but our vision is now ‘travel or bust’.
So, what next?
Step One: Start a Blog
That is the thing these days, right? Start a blog and share your story. We often discuss if we have anything more to offer the blogosphere than any other. After having read blog after blog about how people have done it, created a life of travel, we feel there is always something a little different about their situation than ours. Also, it is all written from the future perspective looking into the past–they have already achieved and are writing how they did it, not how they are doing it. We wanted to discuss what we are doing now to make our dreams a reality and motivated by the firm belief that if we can do it, truly anybody can.
Where then to begin with our story. Good storytelling can only happen with good context. I wager that no one wants to read our story from beginning to end. In this information era, people want the short version now. So why don’t I skip ahead and tell you where the story ends. Perhaps it will be like a good Tarantino film where you don’t get to see the beginning of the story till half way through the movie. Well, the proverbial story ends when we have achieved our goals. Hopefully that is never, which makes this story a perpetual one. We would like to continue to improve our lives and the world around us. But here are our top 5 goals for the coming years and we would like your help to hold us to them and follow us and your own dreams.
Be truly financially free
Notice I did not say debt free. That is certainly part of it, but my biggest frustration is that we are generally so tied to our lives of earning that we cannot be free to do things we want or even need. Financially free, does not necessarily mean independently wealthy either. We’re certainly not taking this off the table, wink wink, but we can all lead rich lives without the burden of wealth.
Even with financial freedom, time still needs managing. We could find great financial resources which give us time flexibility but if we don’t actually take advantage of the flexibility, what was the point? One of my favorite lines from film is when the Merovingian tells Neo that “if we never take time, how can we ever have time”. Our greatest focus in the shifting of our lives is that life is truly short! Waiting till it is convenient to travel and have the experiences we want is why it is said that the list of our adventures must all fit into a bucket. We want our life’s adventures to fit in something more the scale of an airplane or a cruise ship or bullet train or…well you get the idea.
Our passion is travel. We cannot get enough. It is the key aim of the freedom described in the first two goals. But many of our passions become dulled by the flow of our average lives. We want to see the world. Because we have children, we feel the best way to do that for us is slow, regional travel. Our plan is to begin by teaching English abroad. This satisfies other needs of mine, namely to teach, and builds for longer term goals of returning home and teaching; but out of passion rather than necessity.
In an ever shrinking but extremely competitive world, we have to seek for every advantage. When our children are adults it seems this will only be more so. One of our specific goals is for multilingual children. Certainly we hope that multilingual children will pair with multilingual parents as well. Also we want to open our eyes to the wonderful world of people and cultures and certainly to demonstrate that there are many ways to lead a happy and productive life.
This goal should really be number one as it seems that none of the other goals will be possible or at least likely without it. Traveling and writing and keeping up with other ventures can take its toll. Just as money and time have restricted us from doing many things which we desire, so has our health, or lack thereof. We have discovered over the last months just how many. As with all goals which are actually achieved, we set smaller goals backwards from this to make steps towards our achievement.
While I know that these goals are very general, I hope they can be somewhat inspiring. We will continue to post about our smaller goals and accomplishments in our effort to realize our goals and our dreams.
For now, tell us about your goals and dreams as well as successes for creating the life that you want and freeing yourself from the burdens of the ‘American Dream’.